Many, many hours later, I had trimmed everything and started welding in all the pieces I'd been saving. The rear floor section was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I welded it in first, then started on the repro front and rear pans. By this time I had been using the argon/CO2 for awhile and was welding like a pro. (not)
This was with all the floor welding completed, except for the back seat brace. The front and rear floor pans are repro, the pan under the rear seat is the section cut from the Skylark at the junkyard. The blue piece is a patch panel made from one of my trusty old dented car hoods stolen from a body shop dumpster. At this stage I've really got the Frankenstein look going.
With the cutoff wheel, air chisel, cutting torch and various other implements of destruction, I cut away all of the rear floor and support brace. This picture is a little hard to read, because it was taken at night with a flash. To the left of the driveshaft is the muffler, visible at right is my floorjack. I cut away the floor and rear brace. I also cut away a section of the back seat brace because it too, had rust holes. It was well beyond obvious at this point that I had started with the wrong car, but I'm a persistant guy.
The second photo is the donor Buick floor on the left, all trimmed and ready to go into my Olds. On the right is what remained of my floor after I cut it away.
Speedway Salvage, just across the river in Madison County Illinois, was the location of this donor car, 1972 Buick Skylark. When I first saw it, it was complete, but by the next day, the front clip, both doors, and all of the interior had disappeared. I paid them to cut the rear floor section from it. They used a giant fibre wheel saw. I wish I could have been there to see it done. The third photo shows the section sitting on my driveway at home, ready for me to start trimming.
I've never been real good at finishing a project before diving head first into the next one. The interior floors in this Cutlass are in trouble. Since I'm having so much fun with the drill, cutoff wheel die grinder, air chisel, oxy/acetylene cutting torch, etc, I decide to cut into the interior floors. Fools rush in, and by the end of this day I wondered exactly what I was restoring-there was not much left! I was sure having a good time though. The floor braces somehow survived the rust attack, so I was careful to preserve those.
The floor panel underneath the rear seat was like a piece of rusty lace. A reproduction would be available soon, but I didn't want to wait. I made a super-cheesy homemade panel and just started to fix the driver side, when on one of my weekly junkyard excursions I found a '72 Skylark with solid rust-free floors. I noted that the repro floor kits were the same for all A body cars, Skylark, Cutlass, GTO, Chevelle, etc, so I looked and measured and determined the 2 door hardtop floor would be the same as my convertible.
With everyone telling me what a goof I was for using flux core wire, I finally saw the light and went and got solid core wire and an argon bottle. I was right about how often it needed to be refilled, and what a pain in the ***. After the third time having it filled, inspiration struck. GENIUS! Get a BIGGER argon/CO2 bottle! I did, and started assembling the trunk floor.
All the stuff you hear about how poorly the repro panels fit is all true, if not understated. At least it was for me, and this car that had been rusted and wrecked so many times.
A friend took this shot of my good side as I ground away at my large, goober-ish amateur welds on the trunk floor. This was the part right before all the dried leaves alongside the driveway caught on fire.....